5 Tips for Twitter’s Promoted Tweets

Tom earned his master’s in IMC from WVU and his bachelor’s in public relations from Utica College of Syracuse University. He joined the Site-Seeker team in 2013 as an account manager.

I’m not entirely sure why Twitter’s Promoted Tweets have not grown in popularity the way Facebook Ads have. According to AllThingsD, Twitter generates only $270 million from ads while Facebook rakes in $1.6 billion. There can be a number of reasons for the discrepancy, total users probably being the most significant. But numbers aside, Twitter’s ad platform is simple, straightforward and continues to attract more users each quarter. Promoted tweets have gone beyond utilizing the search function (does anyone even use that feature anymore?) to appearing in “similar user” lists and directly in users’ feeds. It’s a highly effective tactic to get in front of new audiences, especially when run during a special promotion.

32% of Internet users have a Twitter account. And the average user is following 350 people on Twitter. This means that most tweets are buried in users’ newfeeds within hours or even minutes. A promoted tweet, however, is special because it hovers towards the top of users’ feeds. They cannot get rid of the tweet and they are surely exposed to the messaging.

Twitter can be a great platform to reach an actively engaged audience. The demographic filters allow you to get in front of the right people. Plus, it’s a pay per engagement business model. Similar to pay-per-click (PPC), you are not paying for impressions but rather only paying if a user interacts with your tweet. The budget tools allow you to only spend what you can afford. By taking a few things into considerations, one can easily put Twitter’s promoted tweets service to use and see a return on the investment. Here are five things that will help you get the most out of your promoted tweets:

1) Understand your goals.

It’s helpful to understand first if your core audience is on Twitter and whether this platform is best for your advertising efforts. At this point, Twitter is made up of many different ages and lifestyles – so you’re probably in good shape. However, it is particularly fitting for brands trying to reach 18-29 year old African American urbanites or other young people groups.  Do some research to see if your customers are present and active on the social channel.

Secondly, are you trying to grow your following or are you trying to get clicks on a link. If the former, then you want to promote your handle. That’s a separate type of Twitter ad. But if you want to promote a specific link, then you are in the right place. Promoted tweet gets new audience members’ eyes in front of your tweet, even if they are not following your handle. This opens the doors to new potential customers. You can share links to your website, a contest page or an image. Here’s an example of a promoted tweet from @RedBull. As you can see, it says it is a promoted tweet (in yellow, towards the bottom), and they are including a link for users to react to. Red Bull is only paying for those who @, RT, favorite the tweet, or click on the link.

2) Select your keywords and filters carefully.

There are many tweets on Twitter. In fact, there are actually 6,000 or so tweets per second unless a major event happens, like the Japanese Earthquake, which warranted a record 143,200 tweets per second! Most people tweet about all sorts of topics and aren’t necessarily focused on one subject area. This is why the filter function in promoted tweets is extremely convenient but must also be used carefully. Here’s an example. Let’s say I sell computer equipment and add the keyword “mouse” to my filter. Twitter might add a 15-year-old kid into my target group because he tweets things like: “OMG, I just saw this mouse cross my garage floor. I’m going to scream like a little girl.” But if you add other modifiers like computer, mouse, keyword, business, etc, then you might get a 45-year-old buyer from a big business tweeting: “Looking for a better computer software/hardware vendor. If you know of one, DM me.” See the difference? You can target by handle too and look to reach people who are similar to certain Twitter users. You might add in @IBM, @Cisco and @Asus so only users who follow those companies will be exposed to your ad. This ensures that you are getting in front of more qualified users.

3) Geographical region is huge!

Ever wonder how Twitter is using the location setting within your profile? They are using it to provide you with more tailored ads. If you’re a local business, or if you’re only running a regional contest, this feature within Twitter’s promoted tweets becomes very powerful. You can select areas by city or state and you don’t have to worry about consumers outside of your market being exposed to your messaging. Giving away tickets to a local sporting event? Select just your city and now only local residents will enter. No more worries about telling a winner from Europe that he has to pay his own airfare!

4) Be smart with your ad copy.

You can tell Twitter to automatically promote new tweets or specifically create new tweets to promote. I recommend the latter. Be witty, cute and entertaining. Just like an ad, it needs to catch people’s attention. It should be short so users have room to RT to their followers. And it should be both memorable and likable to leave an impression. Use relevant hashtags but don’t overdue it. You can also customize your link so it is tailored to your specific campaign to seem more relevant. Also, consider a unique hashtag for the campaign so users can follow along with conversations that relate.

If you have an ongoing campaign, update your promoted tweet every day and change the wording. This way, tweets are always fresh and you can compare to see which ones perform best.

5) Don’t forget to use analytics!

Once a campaign begins running, or has completed, you can access the results. Twitter provides free insight into the performance of the ads and how people are reacting. This gives you tips on how to adjust your ads. Remember how I suggested doing several variations of your ads over several days? Now you can look to see which ones were the most effective and make adjustments to improve your campaign as it’s running.

The built in analytics are quite robust (at least, for a free tool). You can see your spend, impressions and type of engagement (RT, click, favorite). You also can see some demographic information like: devices, location (both country and state), gender. And most importantly, you can see which keywords or @ handles triggered the impressions/engagements. All the data can be exported to an Excel file for those who might prefer to view everything in cells. Use any and all of this information to adjust your campaign, the tweet language, filters and bid level for next time to have improved results!

Have you put Twitter’s Promoted Tweets service to use yet? I’d love to hear about your successes and/or failures to understand how we can all get more out of this great tool! Comment below.